Sunday, September 1, 2013
The dog days are fading and summer’s lease has nearly run its course. Larkin’s toad is about to squat on my life again. Walking the Seven Sisters with the sea on my left and ovine-trimmed grassland to my right, the first day of September sunshine was playing dreamily on the English Channel.
The further west I walked along the undulating path, the more people I encountered picnicking on the cliff top. Gazing out at the blurred line between sky and sea, the horizon only made distinct by the slow stately progress of the occasional tanker, they seemed transfixed by being at the very edge of the land.
The ground along the cliff top was dotted here and there with chalk stone patterns. These were clearly arranged by human hands but what I first thought were examples of Andy Goldsworthy-style land art, on closer inspection revealed themselves to be something more mundane: names, phone numbers, boy bands, slogans – the lingua franca of tourist graffiti.
By the time I reached the final sister, the eastward view back along the coast to Birling Gap was magnificently crowned by the silhouette of the Belle Tout lighthouse. But it was to the west, as Seaford Head and Cuckmere Haven hove into view, that the unlikely azure of the sea dispelled the Sunday blues and caused the spirits to soar.